Lloyd Rees (1895-1988)
The End of the Garden 1936
oil on canvas on board
45.6 x 51.8 cm
Gift of Howard Hinton 1939
Born 1895, Queensland. Died 1988, Hobart.
Lloyd Frederick Rees is admired as one of the pre-eminent landscape artists of his age. His life and work spanned much of the twentieth century.
In 1914 Rees moved to Sydney and started working as a commercial artist while painting harbour scenes and the tree-lined streets of Parramatta in his spare time. In 1923 he travelled to England and Europe, where he was to return many times during his life.
Throughout his career he strove to reflect the uniqueness of place in his work, modifying his palette and handling of paint, from soft romantic scenes of France, to flattened shapes and broad brushstrokes in images of inland Australia. The capacity of light to reveal texture in landscape was a concern throughout his career. His late paintings show an abstraction of form and reveal the spiritual dimension which Rees felt in his relationship to the place he painted.
He was a frequent finalist in the Wynne Prize for landscape painting, winning in 1950 and 1982, and he entered several self-portraits in the Archibald competition. The End of the Garden is one of nine works in the Hinton Collection. With a mythological atmosphere, it is a detailed study of a tree leaning over a garden path, creating a natural frame for the distant landscape. A classical garden urn with flowers in it on a stone plinth completes the frame. A small seated figure in the tree's shadow looks out to the hazy pastel valley. Rees has used fine brushwork for the branches and feathery leaves.